In a noteworthy case that sheds light on the emerging world of 3D-printed firearms, a nineteen-year-old man named Zavien James Ross has been sentenced to 27 months in prison for the trafficking of 3D-printed “Glock switches” and “auto-sears.” Ross, from Washington, Illinois, was found guilty of possession of machine guns after undercover agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives made two separate purchases of these illegal conversion devices. Often referred to as “Glock switches” or “auto-sears,” these devices have the potential to convert semi-automatic firearms into fully automatic ones. The possession and sale of such devices are illegal under federal law. This case not only highlights the dangers of the illegal firearms trade but also raises concerns about the accessibility and increasing sophistication of 3D-printing technology in the production of such items.
Man Sentenced to Prison
A nineteen-year-old man named Zavien James Ross from Washington, Illinois, has been sentenced to 27 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, after pleading guilty to possession of machineguns. This sentence comes as a result of his involvement in the trafficking of 3D-printed firearms, specifically Glock switches, and his possession of machineguns.
Trafficking of 3D-Printed Firearms
Ross was involved in the illicit trade of 3D-printed firearms, particularly Glock switches. Court documents reveal that agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) made two separate undercover purchases of Glock switches from Ross in November 2022. In total, they purchased nine 3D-printed Glock switches and one 3D-printed auto-sear designed for an AR-15 rifle. These machinegun conversion devices are capable of converting ordinary semi-automatic firearms into fully automatic machineguns. Under federal law, machinegun conversion devices, also known as “Glock switches” or “auto-sears,” are considered machineguns themselves, even when not installed, and are illegal to possess or sell in almost all cases.
Definition of Machinegun Conversion Devices
Machinegun conversion devices, such as Glock switches, are devices that have the ability to convert semi-automatic firearms into fully automatic firearms. By modifying the trigger mechanism, these devices enable rapid consecutive firing, mimicking the functionality of a fully automatic firearm. According to federal law, these conversion devices are classified as machineguns, regardless of whether they are installed or not, and are prohibited from possession or sale without the necessary licenses or authorization.
Arrest and Search
During the course of the investigation, Ross was apprehended by the Peoria Police Department on November 28, 2022, for possessing a firearm in his car during a routine traffic stop. Subsequently, on November 29, 2022, ATF agents executed a search warrant at Ross’s residence. The search yielded the discovery of a 3D printer, five additional 3D-printed Glock switches, and two 3D-printed pistol lower receivers.
In addition to the charges related to trafficking 3D-printed firearms and possession of machineguns, Ross also faces pending charges in Peoria County, Illinois, for unlawful use of a weapon and possession of a firearm without a Firearm Owners Identification card. These charges indicate a pattern of illegal firearms-related activities and further underscore the severity of Ross’s criminal behavior.
Possession of machineguns carries significant penalties under federal law. Ross’s conviction exposes him to a potential prison sentence of up to 10 years, followed by a three-year term of supervised release. Furthermore, he may be liable for a fine of up to $250,000. These penalties reflect the seriousness with which the justice system treats offenses related to firearms trafficking and possession of illegal firearms.
Project Safe Neighborhoods
The case against Zavien James Ross is one that aligns with the goals of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a nationwide program aimed at reducing violent crime and gun violence. PSN brings together law enforcement agencies at all levels and collaborates with local communities in an effort to enhance public safety. By fostering trust and legitimacy in communities, supporting violence prevention initiatives, setting strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results, PSN seeks to create safer neighborhoods for everyone.
The ATF played a crucial role in investigating and ultimately apprehending Zavien James Ross. With the assistance of the Peoria Police Department, ATF agents were able to gather the evidence necessary to build a compelling case against Ross. Their expertise in firearms investigations, coupled with their commitment to combatting illegal firearms trafficking, contributed to the successful prosecution of this important criminal matter.
Assistant U.S. Attorney
Ronald L. Hanna, an Assistant U.S. Attorney, represented the government during the prosecution of Zavien James Ross. With his knowledge and experience in criminal law, Hanna played a pivotal role in presenting the evidence against Ross and ensuring that justice was served. The diligent efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Hanna are commendable and serve as a testament to the commitment of the U.S. Department of Justice in upholding the rule of law.
In recent times, there have been several other cases involving individuals engaged in criminal activity related to drugs and firearms. Two California men were recently sentenced to prison for drug trafficking, highlighting the persistent issue of narcotics distribution. Similarly, an individual from El Paso, Texas, was sentenced to ten years in prison for fentanyl trafficking, further emphasizing the ongoing battle against the illegal drug trade. Additionally, a Springfield man was sentenced to 180 months in prison for possessing fentanyl with the intent to distribute, underscoring the severity of drug-related offenses in society.
In conclusion, the sentencing of Zavien James Ross to 27 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, serves as a stern reminder of the consequences individuals face when involved in trafficking 3D-printed firearms and possession of machineguns. The successful prosecution of this case, through the collaborative efforts of law enforcement agencies, demonstrates the commitment to public safety and the desire to reduce violent crime and gun violence within communities. The penalties associated with these offenses reflect the severity of the crimes committed and send a clear message that illegal firearms activities will not be tolerated.